ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday offered to play a role in ending the ongoing political impasse between protesters and the Nawaz-led government.
Hearing petitions filed against the ‘Azadi’ and ‘Inqilab’ marches, a four-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk asked Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's (PTI) counsel to inform the court whether it would accept the court’s intervention or not. The court also asked them to consult their clients if they consent to the court’s adjudication regarding the crisis.
The chief justice clarified that the court was not offering to mediate or arbitrate, but simply to act as a court of law and give rulings on whatever is presented before it. He asked the parties' representatives to bring their petitions, if they had any, on Tuesday.
The court’s offer came in response to PTI’s request to take suo motu notice of the protesters' concerns.
Justice Mian Saqib Nisar made the case for how the Supreme Court could play its part in defusing the crisis. He made it clear that the Supreme Court ought to be the designated 'neutral umpire' only, making the claim for its impartiality.
Justice Saqib also said that the Supreme Court is the only forum which can serve political justice. Given the role the army has played as intermediary this past week, Ahmad Awais, counsel for PTI, stated that instead of asking the army, it was better for the government to request the Supreme Court to intervene.
The Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Salman Aslam Butt took his opportunity to file a complaint; he called the breach of the Red Zone a legal violation.
Referring to PTI and Pakistan Awami Tehreek, Butt stated both the political parties have violated the government’s No Objection Certificate (NOC), saying that despite assurances not to cross the boundary lines of the Red Zone, the protesters broke the gate of Parliament House and attempted to break the gate of Prime Minister’s House.
Butt requested the court to invoke Article 190 of the constitution in present scenario, which allows the court to summon any serving executive to help implement its order.
Supreme Court justices also took the time out to comment on the prevailing political crisis. Justice Nisar said the constitution is under threat because of the ongoing agitation. “Whatever is happening is unconstitutional,” he said. Justice Nisar's security van was attacked on Sunday.
Justice Jawwad S Khawaja was also sceptical about the ongoing protests. "How are they any different from any insurgency which is happening in Fata and other areas of the country?" he asked.
He also asked the both political parties (PTI and PAT) to tell that whether they will upheld the constitution or not, adding there should not be double face in this regard.
No counsel representing PAT was present during the hearing.